Snorkeling in Rangiroa, French Polynesia

by Kathy Kelly
(Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

I wanted to share my experience snorkeling in Rangiroa, French Polynesia in August 2015. We traveled over from Moorea. We were told the snorkeling would be excellent.

The island of Rangiroa is remote and you are pretty captive although it was lovely (albeit expensive) at the Kia Ora. (The French tourists seemed to find less expensive housing). The snorkeling right in front of our bungalow was very good. The corals aren’t much to look at but there was abundant and diverse fish. In addition to all the fish we saw in Moorea, we saw shrimp gobies, Black Triggerfish, Red Tooth Triggerfish, Long Nose Surgeonfish and Yellow Banded Pipefish. The Top Dive Shop (on premises) has a great reference book (although it was in French).

We took a boat snorkel (I highly recommend Katie from Y AKA Plongee just down the beach from Top Dive) and saw a school of Convict Surgeonfish, a huge school of snapper (that swam with us), Sergeant Majors, a variety of unicornfish, Bird Wrasse, black with white band before tail, parrotfish, Checkerboard Wrasse, Saddle Butterflyfish, a large school of Raccoon Butterflyfish, lots of triggerfish including Picasso and Titan (giant), angelfish, Black Tip Reef Shark, Chevron Butterflyfish, Tahitian Squirrelfish, some white fish that looks like a squirrel, several Cornetfish, and really pretty green coral.

In Tiputa Pass (a fun drift snorkel) we saw: Black Tip Reef Shark, White Tip Reef Shark, turtle, a school of needlefish, and Tricolored Fusilier (a pterocaesio tile — snapper family, not found in the Caribbean). Our guide tried hard to find us a ray but no luck. There was lots of current on this drift snorkel.

I am not sure I would have traveled all this way for the snorkeling alone (unless you are honeymooning or special anniversary - it is isolated and romantic and expensive) but really worth it if you also dive and have one of those really great days!

I listed the fish I saw in Moorea on a comment on this page.

Comments for Snorkeling in Rangiroa, French Polynesia

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Aug 19, 2015
Thank You
by: Nicole & Galen

Kathy, thank you for taking the time to write this up. It is good to have some Rangiroa, French Polynesia snorkeling information on the site.

Nov 04, 2015
Rangiroa Snorkeling
by: Hank Harding

Yes, the snorkeling in front of the bugalows is good but the best is at what they call the Aquarium at the lagoon-side entrance of the Tiputa Pass. We have gone back to Rangiroa eight times.

Jun 17, 2020
Rangiroa Snorkeling is World Class!
by: Eric Hanson - California - South Dakota

I found the snorkeling in Rangiroa better than Hawaii, Bonaire, Belize, St. Lucia, Roatan (in the Bay Islands of Honduras), and even probably Maldives. I have not been to Alor, Misool, or Komodo yet. Planning that.

The key to Rangiroa is hiring a boat and becoming friendly with trying to speak French. The Aquarium and the Blue Lagoon were great. The reef inside near Tiputa Pass isn't that good, especially for coral, but the Blue Lagoon and Aquarium, and hiring a boat around the atoll is pristine. Or it was in 2014 at least.

Bonaire was very good too at Klein Bonaire. And Roatan on West End. I am looking forward to Alor and Misool.

Have fun!

Nov 22, 2020
More French Polynesia Info
by: Nicole & Galen

Others have shared stories about snorkeling in French Polynesia: Pat snorkeled Moorea and Bora Bora, and this post gives spot suggestions for Bora Bora.

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